When Jack was born he was, as they described him, “Low Tone”. His muscles were weak, his arms and legs looked like sticks, he was not able to cry very loudly. Generally he was quite weak. That did not last. I mentioned previously about starting him on Vitamin Therapy and the incredible results that followed. Well I have to say, this boy grew strong. At a very young age he was able to quite easily drag his older sister around the house by her hair. We have video footage that we recently rediscovered that shows him pulling her to the floor by her waist length braids. I think it was shortly after that she decided to donate her hair to Locks of Love! Jack’s low center of gravity, his body mass and his lack of judgment led him to do such things as launch himself at his Daddy’s knees and literally topple him to the ground (and at nearly 6 feet and 230lbs his Daddy is no small guy).
As Jack’s strength increased, his control over himself and his temper lessened. I believe our problem came from underestimating his capabilities and not wanting to hurt him. My daughter would let herself get beaten up by Jack because she felt sorry for him. If she had had a brother who did not have Down Syndrome and that boy was beating her up, well, I’m quite sure she’d have given as good as she got! I’m not advocating child on child violence of course and any time I caught Jack bullying his sister I stepped in instantly to put a stop to it BUT he did get a sense of his own power and would use it quite forcefully.
Jack’s favorite way to get attention when he was frustrated was to throw things. And I mean anything. If he could lay hands on it, you could soon see it whistling past your head (if you were lucky!) knocking you IN the head if you were not. Anything and everything became a missile and keeping tabs on him and his ammunition became a full time job. However, as you do, we learned. We wised up. We bought Jack a soft pink stuffed pig. This became known as “Throwing Pig.” If Jack was angry or upset about something, he had to find throwing pig to hurl around. Pig was small and soft and couldn’t cause very much damage PLUS it saved us from trying to stop him expressing his temper but rather redirecting it somewhat.
Happily, now at 10 years old I can say that Jack handles his strength and his temper much more successfully. He does get angry sometimes, but he generally just mumbles or stamps his feet. Once in a while he’ll throw stuff about, but it tends to be when his sister is watching him and not when his Mum and Dad are…. ( this leads me to believe that he has a lot more control over his temper than he lets on! ) He uses his strength for good now too, doing such things as getting the heavy groceries out the car or carrying incredibly heavy laundry baskets up the stairs for me! He’s a lovely boy but I know that back then I’d never have believed he would ever be able to control himself. For some children it just takes time and what happens is, you find that old movie you haven’t seen in years, and you realize you had forgotten just how bad it was and just how lovely it is now.